The red circle indicates the area we discuss in this chapter
It is very rare to see a Tanto (短刀dagger) made during the Heian period. During the middle Kamakura period, a large number of high-quality Tanto were made. They were called Takenoko-zori shaped Tanto. Takenoko means bamboo shoot. The back of the Tanto curves inward slightly.
Sugata (shape)———- Hirazukuri. It means there is no Shinogi, Yokote line. See the illustration above. The standard Tanto size is about 10 inches. The width is not too wide, not too narrow, very well-balanced size. The body is slightly thick. High Gyo-no-mune (行の棟) and Shin-no-mune (真の棟)
Hamon (刃文) —————-The tempered area is narrow. Nie base. Suguha-midare (straight line pattern with an irregular wavy pattern) or Suguha-choji (straight line pattern with small Choji). The tempered edge line may show a frayed look.
Boshi(tempered line at Kissaki area) ———Yakizume, Kaen, Nie-kuzure.
Engravings (彫刻 ) ———- Often, different kinds of engravings are done at the lower part of the body. These may be a groove or two grooves, Sanskrit, Suken (spear), dragon, etc. For Sanskrit and spear, look at the illustration inside Chapter 8.
Tanto Swordsmiths in the Middle Kamakura Period
Awataguchi group(粟田口)———————————Awataguchi Yoshimitu (粟田口吉光) Rai group (来) ——————————————————————-Rai Kunitoshi(来国俊) Soushu Group (相州) ——————————————Shintougo Kunimitu (新藤五国光) Bizen group (備前) —————————————————— Bizen Kagemitu (備前景光) Bungo no Kuni Group (豊後の国) ——————–Bungo-no-kuni Yukihira (豊後の国行平)